Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 5, 2013

2,344 Hoosier kids await court advocates


The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Children have always been at the center of Melody Kruger’s life. In 2006, when Kruger officially retired from teaching in the Eastern Pulaski School Corp. and as a principal for the Plymouth School Corp., she continued to help children in her community by reinvigorating the Court-Appointed Special Advocate program in Marshall County. CASA is an Indiana Supreme Court program that includes volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children.

On June 19 Kruger was honored for her years of service by the Supreme Court and the Indiana Retired Teachers Association.

The award was presented by Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush. Following the ceremony, Rush said, “Melody’s dedication and passion for children are remarkable. She has spent her entire career improving the lives of children. The state is fortunate she invested her energy into CASA.”

Kruger recently retired again, this time as director of the Marshall County CASA program. During the past seven years, she recruited, trained and supervised many volunteers there. She advocated for many children herself and is an active member of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association.

Haley Kittrell, the new Marshall County CASA director and the person who nominated Kruger for the award, explained, “Melody makes everyone around her passionate about the welfare of children.”

Indiana has 78 certified CASA programs in the state and 3,466 trained volunteers (up from 2,161 in 2007) who donated over 330,000 hours advocating for 18,000 children in abuse and neglect cases last year. The Indiana Supreme Court, Division of State Court Administration, administers the GAL (Guardian Ad Litem)/CASA state office, which provides funding and support to Indiana’s programs.

At the beginning of 2013, there were 2,344 Hoosier children waiting for GAL/CASA volunteers.

The office of Southeastern Indiana Voices for Children Inc., which serves Ripley and Jefferson counties, is located in Madison. Southeastern Indiana Voices for Children is a member of the National CASA Association and Indiana GAL/CASA network. Details are available at www.seivoices.com/ or program director Pamela Moon, 812-599-2630 or seivoices@cinergymetro.net.

Franklin County has no CASA program.

For more information about CASA, persons may visit www.casa.in.gov or www.childadvocatesnetwork.org.